Center awarded funds for research
Georgia College has allocated $100,000, designated for undergraduate research, in the 2013 fiscal year which began in July.
“There’s been a lot of work of done on campus in support of undergraduate research,” Steve Jones, director of Georgia College’s newly-created Center for Engaged Learning, said. “We’ve participated in over 15 undergraduate-research conferences and we’ve recently sent faculty to one. There’s been a lot of movement in the last few month to support undergraduate research and these examples demonstrate the institution’s goal.”
The funding is a part of institutional dollars which will be awarded through Jones’ office.
“Since undergraduate research is quickly becoming a signature program at liberal arts institutions, the university’s administration saw it fit to re-characterize these funds to support to seed undergraduate research,” Rosalie Richards, founding director of Georgia College’s Science Education Center, said. “Universities put money where they think they will have some level of distinctiveness, whether it is in terms of fiscal or reputation interest. This money is a move in the direction to support this.”
Faculty and students will be eligible for the funding, which will be primarily used for research expenditures and traveling.
“There may be some of it, and it won’t be a lot, used in supplies,” Jones said. “Copying paper, brochures, and advertising.”
“I’m in the process now of putting together an advisory group,” Jones said. “The group will develop guidelines and an application process for
the money. Once the guidelines and applications are completed, which I’m hoping to be done by the middle of October, then we will get the word out.”
“We want the criteria to be transparent,” Jones said. “We want those who applied and did not receive the funding to feel that the process is fair and is open to as many people as possible. I’m not going to be able to give all the money to everyone that would like it.”
Although no set guidelines have been formed yet, “a minimum of $10,000 will be set aside to support student presentations at external conferences,” according to Tom Ormond, associate provost for academic affairs at GC. “Students will also receive direct support through summer research stipends for faculty-student projects. The expectation is that funding that goes to academic department initiatives will also directly support student projects.”
The monetary funds are designed to enhance the faculty-student undergraduate research program, which is available to all undergraduate departments.
“In reality, undergraduate research isn’t a phrase that’s limited to just research. It also encompasses scholarships, creative activities, as well as undergraduate research,” Jones said. “It isn’t what most people consider research.”
The money that was allocated is aimed to assist in undergraduate student research during the academic year as well as intensive summer research projects, in which a faculty member will be paired with a student, or a small a group of students.
“We have hundreds of students doing undergraduate research, so it would be easy to spend it all on travel, but we’re not,” Jones said.
The funding will also be considered to be used as seed money in which faculty can use for a student research process in the classroom.
“We haven’t started to spend it yet,” Jones said. “The challenge and reality of the process is that we could always use more and we will have to say no to some people. It’s never fun to hear it or say it.”
Jones and the Center for Engaged Learning hope to highlight the positive work that the student and faculty produce with their respective research, especially with the research funding in use.
“We want people outside the university to know what we’re doing; actively publicize, especially in Atlanta,” Jones said. “We have students who are looking at cancer research. That’s just incredible to have undergraduate students doing this quality of very important research. We don’t want this to be secret.”
The Center for Engaged Learning is located at 202 Clark St., directly across from Chappell Hall and Russel Auditorium.